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How To Build Self Confidence And Prepare Yourself For Success In Life

How To Build Self Confidence And Prepare Yourself For Success In Life

Do you act in a way that’s governed by other people’s opinions?

Do you continually stay in your comfort zone for fear of failure?

Do you fear making mistakes and cover them up before anyone finds out?

Do you feel you need constant recognition for your successes to feel validated?

Or do you simply find it hard to accept compliments?

Self-confidence is something we all want but for a huge number of us, it can be a struggle in our day-to-day lives.

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If you say “yes” to any of the above questions, it means you still need to work on strengthening your self-confidence. And the key to overcoming low self-confidence is understanding what it is and ways we can combat it head on.

The Difference Between Self-Confidence And Self-Esteem

Many people can’t differentiate these two concepts. While they may seem similar, there are fundamental differences between self-confidence and self-esteem.

Self-confidence is about our ability to trust in ourselves and how we deal with challenges or difficult situations. Self-esteem is our cognitive and emotional assessment of ourselves that is connected with our worth.[1]

Both of these don’t always go hand in hand. Someone with an abundance of self-confidence may have significant low self-esteem. A typical example of this would be a performer who can stand on stage to thousands of people but who destroys himself with alcohol and drugs behind closed doors.

The great thing about working on raising your self-confidence is that it’s much easier than working on your self-esteem. By boosting confidence first and foremost, you can then be better equipped to target any self-esteem issues.

Self-Confidence Level Determines How Successful You Are

Self-confidence is crucial when it comes to our learning and capabilities. Our confidence can affect our performance and relationships with others and is a much stronger indication of success than self-esteem.[2]

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And this is down to what we believe is true about ourselves. Our beliefs influence heavily what we think we are capable of. In other words, mindset is a big determinant in how much self-confidence we have.

If we believe we are no good at a task then our performance is lessened significantly. The influence our mind has on our abilities can be the difference between performing well or performing less than our actual capabilities. Fears are therefore fundamental to our level of confidence and transcends throughout different areas of our life.

How Can We Build Up Our Self-Confidence?

There are many ways we can build up our self-confidence so what are some good hacks we can apply to our day-to-day lives?

Fake It ‘Til You Make It

If you have low self-confidence then the advice of ‘being yourself’ can be detrimental. This is where faking confidence can really help you move forward with success. Paying attention to how you want to present yourself to others can give you clarity into striving to act in this way.[3]

Sometimes it’s easier to change from the outside in – in other words, once we get used to acting in a confident way, it can become more familiar and we can start to see positive results.

Your Every Gesture Counts

Body language is an important way to convey confidence. When we have low self-confidence it can be apparent in the way we physically hold ourselves. Standing up tall and even doing power poses (think Superman) can change the way we think to that of confidence. Try it throughout the day and see the difference it makes. Talk more slowly – taking time to think about what you want to say – and making eye contact will give the impression of confidence.

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Here’s a video that gives you more idea of how to act with confidence:[4]

Dress For Confidence

Studies have shown that what you wear can have significant influence on how you feel and act.[5] Dressing up in clothes that make you feel confident can change your attitude and outlook on a stressful situation.

Change Your Mindset

Mindset is extremely important when it comes to confidence. Confident people focus on more positive thoughts and outcomes than negative ones. Try to change your perspective and habit of thinking – focus on abundance rather than lack. Know that the outcome doesn’t necessarily reflect your abilities.

Celebrate Small Wins

People with low self-confidence have a tendency to put a lot of pressure on the bigger picture. The secret to building more confidence is to focus more on the small steps we take. Direct more significance to small wins and celebrate them as this will help you realise how far you’ve come. In essence, become your own cheerleader.

See How You Become A Better You

Taking up a new skill like learning a language can help you to build up confidence. Seeing improvements and keeping track of progress will instinctively build up how you see yourself in terms of ability. It can also help distract and calm the mind, blocking any worrying or overthinking that may arise from other areas of your life.

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Recommended Reading Material

    If books are your thing, then You Are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero is an excellent read to help you build your confidence and tackle your fears. It provides inspirational stories and easy exercises to follow all in a humorous and relatable fashion. It helps you to identify the behaviours and negative beliefs that are keeping you back from being the fully confident person you’re capable of being!

    So, remember building confidence is really a combination of mindset and changing our detrimental behavioural patterns. But the key is knowing that low self-confidence can be overcome.

    “Low self-confidence isn’t a life sentence. Self-confidence can be learned, practiced, and mastered–just like any other skill. Once you master it, everything in your life will change for the better.” – Barrie Davenport

    Reference

    More by this author

    Jenny Marchal

    A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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    Last Updated on October 16, 2019

    Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

    Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

    Do you like making mistakes?

    I certainly don’t.

    Making mistakes is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be at ease with them?

    Perhaps there is a way to think of them differently and see their benefits.

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    Why Mistakes Feel Dangerous

    Mistakes often feel dangerous. Throughout human history, our errors have often been treated as dangerous for a variety of reasons:

    • Our vulnerability. We have limited and fragile support systems. When those systems fail, people often lose their lives.
    • Real dangers. Nature can be dangerous, and making mistakes can put us at the mercy of nature and its animal residents seeking a meal.
    • Ignorance. Many cultures scapegoats someone whenever there is a failure of some kind. Scapegoating can be serious and deadly.
    • Order. Many societies punish those who do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy and treat difference and non-conformity as a mistake. Even our brains flash an error message whenever we go against prevailing social norms.

    We have a history of handling mistakes and failure in an unpleasant way. Since each of us carries our human history with us, it can be a challenge to overcome the fear of making mistakes.

    If we can embrace the reality of mistakes, we can free ourselves to be more creative in our lives and dig up some interesting insights.

    Why We Can’t Avoid Making Mistakes

    Many people operate under the notion that making mistakes is an aberration, a mistake if you will. You can call it perfectionism but it is a more substantial problem. It is really a demand for order and continuity.

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    When we think we can eliminate mistakes, we are often working from a perspective that sees the world as a fixed place. The world, however, is not so obliging. Like it or not, the world, and everything in it, is constantly changing.

    Change is more constant and pervasive than we can see with our own eyes which is why we often miss it. Our bodies are constantly changing. The natural conditions of the earth change constantly as well. Everything, including economic and cultural systems have life cycles. Everything is in a constant state of flux.

    We cannot see all of the changes going on around us since rates of change vary. Unfortunately, when we try to create a feeling of certainty and solidity in our lives or operate from the illusion of stability and order, we are fighting reality and our natural evolution which is built on adapting to change.

    It is better to continually bend into this reality rather than fight every change we experience. Fighting it can cause us to make more mistakes. Finding the benefits in change can be useful and help us minimize unnecessary mistakes.

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    Lessons Learned from Making Mistakes

    Life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making mistakes.

    Here is a list of ways to harness the mistakes you make for your benefit.

    1. Point us to something we did not know.
    2. Reveal a nuance we missed.
    3. Deepen our knowledge.
    4. Tell us something about our skill levels.
    5. Help us see what matters and what does not.
    6. Inform us more about our values.
    7. Teach us more about others.
    8. Let us recognize changing circumstances.
    9. Show us when someone else has changed.
    10. Keep us connected to what works and what doesn’t work.
    11. Remind us of our humanity.
    12. Spur us to want to better work which helps us all.
    13. Promote compassion for ourselves and others.
    14. Teach us to value forgiveness.
    15. Help us to pace ourselves better.
    16. Invite us to better choices.
    17. Can teach us how to experiment.
    18. Can reveal a new insight.
    19. Can suggest new options we had not considered.
    20. Can serve as a warning.
    21. Show us hidden fault lines in our lives which can lead us to more productive arrangements.
    22. Point out structural problems in our lives.
    23. Prompt us to learn more about ourselves.
    24. Remind us how we are like others.
    25. Make us more humble.
    26. Help us rectify injustices in our lives.
    27. Show us where to create more balance in our lives.
    28. Tell us when the time to move on has occurred.
    29. Reveal where our passion is and where it is not.
    30. Expose our true feelings.
    31. Bring out problems in a relationship.
    32. Can be a red flag for our misjudgments.
    33. Point us in a more creative direction.
    34. Show us when we are not listening.
    35. Wake us up to our authentic selves.
    36. Can create distance with someone else.
    37. Slow us down when we need to.
    38. Can hasten change.
    39. Reveal our blind spots.
    40. Are the invisible made visible.

    Reframe Reality to Handle Mistakes More Easily

    The secret to handling mistakes is to:

    • Expect them as part of the process of growth and development.
    • Have an experimental mindset.
    • Think in evolutional rather than fixed terms.

    When we accept change as the natural structure of the world, our vulnerability and humanness lets us work with the ebb and flow of life.

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    When we recognize the inevitability of mistakes as part of the ongoing experiment which life is, then we can relax more. In doing so we may make fewer of them.

    It also helps to keep in mind that trial and error is an organic natural way of living. It is how we have evolved over time. It is better to be with our natural evolution than to fight it and make life harder.

    When we adopt an evolutional mindset and see ourselves as part of the ongoing human experiment, we can appreciate that all that has been built up over time which includes the many mistakes our ancestors have made over thousands of years. Each one of us today is a part of that human tradition of learning and experimenting,

    Mistakes are part of the trial and error, experimental nature of life. The more you adopt the experimental, evolutional frame, the easier it becomes to handle mistakes.

    Handling mistakes well can help you relax and enjoy all aspects of life more.

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    Featured photo credit: Sarah Kilian via unsplash.com

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